Biogen Distances Itself from Troubled Alzheimer's Drug

    Photo: Pool New/Reuters [via The WSJ]

    The Facts

    • Biogen CEO Michel Vounatsos is stepping down, and the company will largely give up the marketing of Alzheimer's medication Aduhelm, in an attempt to distance itself from the controversial drug.

    • It worked by targeting brain plaque amyloid, and was the first Alzheimer's drug in two decades to be approved by the FDA.


    The Spin

    Pro-establishment narrative

    Although the withdrawal of Aduhelm is a disappointment, Biogen is looking ahead to major reforms and a new and promising monoclonal antibody called Lecanemab. Between a stunning strategic overhaul in the company, and the rapid acceleration of Lecanemab towards regulation approval, Biogen is progressing towards its ultimate goal of finding an effective Alzheimer's treatment.

    Establishment-critical narrative

    The controversy surrounding Aduhelm is a colossal failure that has cost Biogen's CEO his job. The FDA approved the drug despite unanimous opposition from its advisory panel. When evidence showed it was ineffective, Biogen selected the most convenient data to plead the case for the treatment. The company has destroyed itself with corrupt and underhand tactics.

    Nerd narrative

    There is a 99% chance that there will be a breakthrough in protein structure prediction by 2031, according to the Metaculus prediction community.


    Establishment split

    CRITICAL

    PRO

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